Sean Connery in Goldfinger
Sean Connery in Goldfinger

Legendary James Bond actor Sir Sean Connery has died, aged 90. Born in August 1930, the Scottish actor Sean Connery is widely viewed as the definitive James Bond. He was the first actor to play the part, starring in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983, and in 2000 he was knighted for services to the film industry.

It’s impossible to overstate Sir Sean Connery’s importance to cinema. The Bond role may have brought him global acclaim, but he always considered himself far more than just the first James Bond; he won a BAFTA for The Name of the Rose, and an Academy Award for The Untouchables, appearing in many other iconic movies. Connery retired after The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen proved a disappointing box office failure, and passed on opportunities to appear in The Lord of the Rings and The Matrix. Although there were rumors he’d return for the fourth Indiana Jones film, Connery rejected those, telling the BBC “retirement is just too much damned fun.

Sadly, Sir Sean Connery’s family have confirmed to the BBC that the celebrated actor has now passed away in the Bahamas after being unwell for some time. The news comes just two months after his 90th birthday, in which he was honored by James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, and was voted the best Bond ever by fans.

Sir Sean Connery had a humble beginning, growing up in a working-class family in Edinburgh. He first became interested in acting after taking on a back-stage job at the King’s Theater in 1951, and successfully auditioned for a role in the musical South Pacific. At first Connery struggled to make ends meet in the film industry, even working as a part-time babysitter at one point to supplement his income, but finally he was cast for the part of James Bond. Connery was initially reluctant to accept the role, wary of what he saw as a major long-term commitment, but he ultimately recognized it would benefit his career. Connery was often critical of the Bond role, and in fact Never Say Never Again was actually titled by his wife, who amusedly pointed out he had insisted he would never again play the part of James Bond.

Moving into the 1980s, The Name of the Rose and The Untouchables reestablished Connery as a major star beyond Bond. Little by little, he transitioned to a new kind of role, an experienced mentor for a younger hero. Notable performances of the ’80s and ’90s include Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Hunt for Red October, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and Dragonheart. He was ultimately knighted in 2000 for services to the film industry, an honor he would have received years earlier if not for the strength of his political views; Connery was a vocal supporter of Scottish Independence, backing the pro-independence Scottish Nationalist Party. He is survived by his son, Jason Connery, and his third wife Micheline Roquebrune.

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